Fruit Desserts for Summer and a Giveaway!

*This post is sponsored by Rich Products as part of their Give Bakery Because program.  A grocer’s bakery is the convenient and ideal location to purchase delicious baked goods that can be customized for any gift giving occasion.  Rich’s and I encourage you to head to your local in-store bakery the next time you need delicious, sweet treats – or just because.  But all these opinions are mine.

Summer entertaining made easy with fresh fruit and store-bought cookies for dessert. #givebakery #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHow is 4th of July in a little over a week?!  Life is moving too quickly for my taste.  I think we all just need to slow it down and make sure we are taking time to enjoy life and spending it with the ones we love.  I’m really looking forward to our annual block party on Independence Day.  It starts with a city-wide parade where the kids participate by riding their decorated bikes and throwing (and subsequently picking up) lots of candy.  Then we chill for a few hours and then head down the street to hang with the neighbors and a HUGE bounce house/ water slide/ ER-visit-inducing contraption.  Everyone is supposed to bring items to share.  I hate just bringing chips.  I always feel so lazy setting those down when the cute gals from around the neighborhood show up with crazy delicious homemade brownies and cookies, etc.  And while I want to step up my potluck game, I still don’t want to spend a lot of time on it.  The perfect solution is starting with a store-bought base and then adding my own touches.  This year I’ll be bringing a berry, basil dessert bruschetta (served on the perfect store-bought sugar cookies).  Boom.  Fruit desserts are perfect for summer.

Fresh fruit and store bought cookies makes a super easy treat for your summer parties. #givebakery #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comYou only need a few ingredients for this dessert and they are so yummy!  I also love that you don’t really need any serving utensils for this and they are super easy to grab.  Start by cleaning your fresh berries (for this I used strawberries and blueberries but of course you can add others – raspberry seeds freak me out and their color is not patriotic enough for me but if you want to use them, I guess YOU can) and rinse your basil (Mint would be another good option but use your favorite fresh herb.  I find that the fresh herb helps to cut the sweetness of the berries and cookies a smidge).

Fresh fruit and herbs make this sugar cookie and fruit bruschetta perfect for 4th of July and summer entertaining. #givebakery #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI chopped my strawberries and put them in a bowl.  I decided to keep the blueberries whole for their color and have you seen the insides of a blueberry?  Off putting.  It makes me think of zombies.  Which is not super appetizing in terms of dessert presentation.

Fruit bruschetta with basil will delight your party guests. And it's so easy to make with store bought cookies! #givebakery #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOnce your fruit is prepared, and you have added your chopped herbs (mine are chiffonaded because I’m fancy like that.  I also make up tenses of words) toss it altogether and grab your store-bought cookies.  In this case, I added some store-bought whipped cream to the cookie first and then piled on the berries.  If these are going to sit out at all, though, you might want to let guests add the whipped cream themselves as it can melt.  These could easily be set out as a “station” so people could make them themselves.  For a do-it-yourself bar, I would put the bowl of berries on top of a bowl of ice and keep the whipped cream in a wine chiller.  Then set the cookies and a spoon and your job is done. [Read more...]

Best Caramel Corn Ever

Pinkleton's Caramel Corn with Orange Cardamom and Scotch.  OMG Yum! // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comYou know you have good friends when they gift you the world’s best caramel corn ever.  Well I mean, I think my recipe is the best caramel corn recipe ever, but prepackaged this is the stuff.  Kristin picked this Pinkleton’s caramel corn up on her recent vacation to Portland and knowing my love of snacks, caramel corn and cardamom, she knew I needed to try it too.  The flavor is outrageous.  It is at once bitter and sweet with subtle and bold flavors.  It’s the perfect crunchy texture.  And I didn’t want to share it.  I also knew that if I wasn’t careful, I would end up eating the whole bag in one sitting.  I ate some on the beach during a family picnic.  I packed this in my suitcase for my New York trip (I never like to be snacky in a hotel with only a mini bar available) and brought the rest home with me.  This would make a great gift for the foodies and snack lovers in your life.  I’m dying to try the other flavors too!  I mean – salted vanilla, salted molasses and spicy mexican cocoa?!  Order some for you summer vacations.  You’re welcome.  And thank you, Kristin, for knowing me so well!

 

Cucumber Basil and Lime Vodka Cocktail

*I was sent a bottle of American Harvest Organic Vodka for this post.

cucumber-and-basil-vodka-cocktail-for-summerUm, yeah.  Cucumber.  Lime.  Basil.  Each of those things screams refreshing to me.  Then put them altogether in a cocktail and of course you aren’t going to hate it.  This cucumber basil and lime vodka cocktail might just be my summer drink for 2014.  But let me tell you a little bit of a funny story…

American-Harvest-VodkaSometimes brands send me alcohol to use in posts.  Just like American Harvest did.  But most of the time I already have an idea for something I want to make with it.  The bottle arrived with a little recipe booklet and I flipped through.  Each cocktail sounded more delicious than the last.  And then I came across this cucumber number. 

slicing-cucumbers-for-the-vodka-cocktailI sliced up the cucs, quartered the limes and got almost through the entire recipe before I realized…

refreshing-vodka-drink-perfect-for-summerthat the drink is pretty much straight vodka.  Like, there is a little bit of lime juice from the muddling but it’s pretty much a big old cup of icy cold vodka.  You would have thought I would have figured that out when I read the recipe the first time.  Or made my grocery list of things I needed for making the cocktail.  But no.  I’m a total lightweight so I was super concerned that I would not like it and be drunk just from one sip.  I am happy to report that while the cocktail was on the stronger side (again, the whole thing is pretty much vodka) the taste was fantastic!  The basil, cucumber and lime took a little of the edge off but the real star is the American Harvest Vodka.  For real.  I wouldn’t just say that since they sent me a bottle of vodka.  I could totally see drinking these this summer.  Like, really slowly.  Over several hours.  With lots of food in my stomach.  And a baby sitter for the kids.  And some Drinkwel.  But I have heard that organic vodka’s are not as likely to induce a hang over…

summer-cocktail-vodka-basil-cucumberWhat I loved most about this cocktail is that the flavors were so crisp and clean.  The ice made this super easy to sip and the fragrance from the basil and cucumber made it a really enjoyable from start to finish.  It goes to show that with the right brand of spirit, you might like something you were never a huge fan of before.  This has also happened with me and whiskey.  But still not probably going to drink that straight.

You can find the full recipe right here (I didn’t use the agave because I don’t generally add sweeteners to my drinks)

*Thank you for supporting the brands, like American Harvest, that let me do what I do.  All opinions are mine.

 

Beer Floats

Banana bread beer floats are a refreshing treat for summer.  And dessert too.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comDo this.  For real.  Beer floats are kind of amazing.  And this one, with banana bread beer(!) is super yummy.  I was thinking these would be fantastic for Father’s Day celebrating.  Or a man’s birthday.  Or Saturday.

Banana bread beer floats!! YUM!  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy local supermarket has been carrying craft beers for the last year or so, so I didn’t even have to go track this down any where fancy.  They also have a chocolate stout version (which I used here) that is GOOD.  There is no recipe for a beer float.  Add scoops of ice cream, pour beer on top.  Drink. 

Make a beer float this summer!  This banana bread beer is perfect.  Or try a stout with chocolately flavors!  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comIt’s dessert and adult beverage in one.  I don’t see why you wouldn’t have one of these on a balmy summer night.  Have you ever tried a beer float before? 

Beer floats are perfect for summer.  And Father's Day.  And any other manly holiday. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comJust like a regular float, the beer foams up when you top the ice cream.  But please drink responsibly, and by that I mean make sure the kids know this is not a root beer float.  And don’t drink and drive.  And don’t drunk text.

 

16 Delicious Recipes for Outdoor Entertaining

*This post is sponsored by Foodie and Mode.  All opinions are mine.  And in my opinion, these recipes look freaking awesome and I can’t wait to make them.

Check out Outdoor Entertaining

by Sharon Garofalow (Cupcakes and Cutlery) at Foodie.com


Ahhhh, Memorial Day.  Does that signal the start of summer for you too?  I mean, we still have about a month left of school (I know, it is SO late!) but that doesn’t stop us for hosting barbecues and kicking off the summer grilling season.  But eating outside sometimes means we either make a signature dish over and over (because we nail it every time) or that we are scared to try something out of the ordinary because eating outside provides a host of challenges (breakable plates, temperature control, grody bugs).  These 16 recipes for outdoor entertaining are just what you need for all your upcoming parties.  I’ve included some drinks, entrees and side dishes for creating a delicious meal for your guests or even just your family.  I’ve included some familiar dishes, like a bbq burger that looks crazy good (and has a little whiskey in it…) but I’ve also included some not so traditional grilled items like Grilled Chipotle Lime Sweet Potato Fries.  How good do those sound?!  Make what you are comfortable with but don’t be afraid to make mistakes.  I speak from experience when I say that even if you make a mistake in front of people that you don’t know very well, it is not the end of the world.  It happens.  More than I care to admit.  I remember this one time in particular when I realized I had used tablespoons instead of teaspoons a little too late.  Oops!  But it wasn’t the end of the world.  And they’ve even come back since.  I am excited to get creative this summer with my recipe repertoire.  And I’m going to start with these Basil Beerades.